screenings + reviews of ROY'S WORLD: BARRY GIFFORD'S CHICAGO

Updated: Sep 6

Watch this page for updates!

World PremiereFebruary 28 & 29, 2020: Glasgow Film Festival

March 10, 2020: Manchester Film Festival

June 12, 2020: Cheltenham Online International Film Festival

North American PremiereSeptember 2 & 6, 2020: Dances With Films: LA

September 18, 2020: SF DocFest

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our schedule for forthcoming screenings will remain in flux for some time. We will update this page accordingly.


"Moody, poignant and rich in humour ... Christopher suggests that we are all made of stories. In a city like Chicago, one might believe that, and this immersive film will take you there. You don’t need to be a fan of Gifford’s work to enjoy it, but you’ll be ready to hunt that down when you leave." [Jennie Kermode]

"Impressionistic and slippery ... Director Rob Christopher is drawn to the visual drama of Kodachrome nightscapes, saturated in turquoise shadows and tantalizing, forbidden scarlets. Elsewhere, the footage takes on an almost abstract quality: the editing, by Marianna Milhorat, is sensual and expressive. Adding to the grungy, down-at-heel glamour of the visuals is a terrific jazz score, heavy on sleazy brass and vibraphone. Roy’s World also employs animated segments, to gorgeous effect." Screen International [Wendy Ide]

"Altogether wonderful ... Jason Adasiewicz’s original jazz score neatly sets the mood and the place, adding another bittersweet layer of pleasure." KQED [Michael Fox]

"It’s a documentary less interested in the historical beats as much as it is the people affected by them. Gifford’s work is used as a conduit to discuss the prominence of racism, crime, and poverty throughout Chicago’s history, in a way that always feels invigorating and not didactic ... So much of the film seems to be about the ability of art and design to transcend its original intentions, becoming special and preserved in the hearts and souls of millions of different citizens. It’s a film not about the nature of creation, but about the wonderful aftermath that the work brings, and the deep satisfaction of knowing that you’re a part of that continuation in any small way. It’s beautiful and more in spirit with the work of its subject than any potential talking heads documentary could have ever been." The Film Stage [Logan Kenny]

"A documentary for the senses. Roy’s World transcends audiences to a romantic, 1950's Chicago of the past, where the winters made you tougher, and the neighborhoods had a unique appreciation for the arts. The addition of airy and harmonious jazz music creates a noir feeling, while the writing of Gifford’s is whisking you away to another place and time ... Rob Christopher has done exquisite work." Leo Brady []

"A wonderful, unique and intriguing feature that oozes nostalgia and the Chicago vibe."

OC Movies [Liselotte Vanophem]

"It’s creatively infectious and feels unexpectedly alive ... The more you experience the art – in this case, Gifford’s storytelling prowess – the more obvious it becomes how his work offers us a way in which to see our own past and present in a new light." Keeping It Reel [David J. Fowlie]

"[Jason Adasiewicz's] music evokes the skyscrapers, harsh winters, buzzing nightclubs and intimate family moments that we see onscreen, transporting the audience to Chicago during this time period and the authenticity gives the film an aura of realism."

The Wee Review [Steven Fraser]

"The footage depicting the era in question is absolutely spellbinding to behold ... even those who are unfamiliar with [Gifford's] work are likely to find it compelling viewing." [Peter Sobczynski]

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Mix for reading about Roy.

I created a Spotify playlist that will instantly transport you to the world of Barry Gifford's stories, featuring many tunes that he references in his book. Crank it up!